Hot Tips for Dressing in Cold Temps
I’m a freeze baby so living in the northern states was probably not a good decision on my part. My hands freeze, my feet freeze, my nose freezes, yes, even my bottom is ice cold at times. I’ve been that way ever since I can remember. Winter is not a fun season for me unless it’s above 20 degrees, calm, and full-on sunshine.
I love the snow, the white purity, the peace, and the beauty that comes with winter but the temperature begs me to stay indoors unless I have 53 layers and my eyes are the only visible parts.
About 8 years ago my hubby and I decided to take a brisk winter walk through our maze of a neighborhood. It was cold, real cold.
We layered up, headed out the door, and tromped through the snow with the excitement of some much needed exercise. Taking a few turns out of the ordinary and not being the typical grid system in our neighborhood, we were a little “misplaced”. No, we weren’t lost! 😉 We just couldn’t figure out exact turns to get us quickly back to home base.
My fingers began to lose movement, my feet began to burn severely with cold and they felt like they were going to crack off at the toe joint, and my nose ached with pain. I could hardly function.
I told the hub that if we didn’t start running, I didn’t know if I could make it home without my feet getting frost bite. In all of our winter gear, we started jogging. I wasn’t able to recover even with all of the physical exertion until I thawed out painfully back at home.
It was an eye-opening experience for me. From that point on, I knew I had to shop for quality cold weather clothing or cry uncle to winter altogether.
Here are some winter clothing tips that I’ve found to avoid freezing one’s tooshie:
Mittens and Gloves
Columbia has their fairly new Omni-Heat lined gloves and mittens. These have had an amazing impact on my longevity outdoors.
Shopping wisely at outlets and post-season, you can get great deals on high quality items. I found a pair of over-the-jacket Columbia mittens with Omni-Heat for $35 (regularly $120) postseason. They’ve been absolute hand savers!
Technology today has really enhanced warmth and hike-ability (is that a word?) in foot wear.
Do you remember the moon boots of yesteryear? Outside of a pair of those back in my childhood, I had never been able to keep my feet warm. Not so this century!
I was able to try on numerous active type boots that were great for warmth, walking, and hiking, while being lightweight and even stylish.
Again, postseason, I was able to snag a pair of $165 Keen’s for $60 that had 200 grams of their patented KEEN.WARM insulation with a warmth rating of -25 degrees. No more frozen toes!
Some say layer, I say thick and comfy. If your feet tend to sweat, wool is best.
A long jacket probably isn’t going to be your best bet if you are an active outdoorsy person. But, if you are super freezy, maybe it is! Covering your bottom certainly adds to the warmth factor.
Depending on layers underneath and materials in the jacket, you can go very light weight while still keeping toasty warm. Down jackets are great for weight but bad if they get wet.
Opting for newer, breathable, water resistant, heat holding jackets and a few thin layers underneath is ideal for comfort and heat.
I tend to like to wear one of my under layers with a high neck for added trapped heat. Yes, they have Omni-Heat in jackets too. Check them out.
Nylon wind-resistant on the outside, cotton or dry-wisk on the inside.
If you have rain pants collecting dust in the winter, use them as your wind resistant outer layer in the cold months to save spending money on new nylon pants.
I actually wear my old heavily insulated nylon athletic pants over my long johns to ensure my legs are warm. I may not win any fashion contests but I’ll maintain my body heat!
Good old fashioned snow pants are ideal for guaranteed warmth as well. You may have friends or family that have a pair hanging in their closet they'd love to get rid of. Ask!
I’ve personally discovered the art of having a neck warmer that can cover my nose and also pull up over my ears. I then throw on my knit hat with ear flaps which gives me double ear coverage. It’s incredibly warm and I really don’t feel like it takes away too much of my hearing.
Full face masks have increased in popularity and breathability as well.
Bottom line, covering your head and face from the elements is crucial.
See above for neck warmer! Scarves are great for extra warmth over the belly when tucked under your coat. If you’re downhill skiing, it adds insulation where your zipper lies for a nice barrier to any wind seeping through along with its normal duty of neck warmth.
Make sure no air can sneak into any part of your layers. Long johns get tucked into socks, mittens go over jacket or vice versa, scarf gets wrapped inside jacket and around all areas of your neck, shirt is tucked into pants, etc. Anywhere outside air can whisk in to touch skin is a major heat loss.
These are just a few helpful pieces of advice from one of the biggest freezy babies on the planet. I hope it will be of some assistance to you as you seek to enjoy the beautiful winter snow globe out there and maintain your body heat.
On a side note: yesterday I went for a 2 mile walk in -5 degree weather. I not only took my mittens off about three times because I was so warm, I unzipped my jacket a few times as well.
It’s incredible how purchasing a few quality items can improve your enjoyment of the outdoors in any season. Let’s get out and play!